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Saturday, August 6, 2011

ULFA submits list of demands to PC!

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Initiating the first formal peace negotiations between the Centre and the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom, the leaders of the banned outfit, led by its chairman, Arabinda Rajkhowa, met Union home minister P. Chidambaram on Friday and submitted a 12-point charter of demands,

including one to amend the Constitution, for finding “meaningful” ways to protect the rights and identity of the indigenous people of Assam. The outfit, however, remained evasive on its core demand of “sovereignty”.

The 40-minute meeting with Mr Chidambaram was also attended by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, apart from six other top leaders of the group. It was decided in the meeting that a formal suspension of operations agreement will be signed between the government and Ulf in Guwahati shortly.

After submitting their charter of demands, termed “The Framework of Charter for Negotiation to Resolve the Issues Between Assam and India”, the ULFA leadership said the government has to change the rules and laws as a solution is not possible under the provisions of the existing Constitution.

“We demand constitutional and political arrangements and reforms, including protection of the identity and material resources of the indigenous population of Assam,” Arabinda Rajkhowa said. Speaking at a press conference, ULFA “foreign secretary” Shashadhar Choudhury said, “The Constitution has to be changed.”

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